With the impending close of the school year, even though I am no longer in the classroom, I worry about kids. After my 37 years of teaching, I know that contrary to popular opinion, many kids dread being at home for the long summer vacation. Some are in abusive situations, others are food deficient; some have relationship issues with parents or siblings, and others are expected to be full time babysitters. I am certain of one thing from all my years of teaching, and that is that many kids come from dysfunctional homes.
I also worry about summer break because kids who need teacher support to sound off, to reflect, to discuss, and to strategize ways of dealing with life suddenly lose that support. Sometimes we forget that for many kids, school is their "safe" space, where they are loved, accepted, recognized, validated, and fed. In my generation (I am 66), family life was not the same as they are now. Back then, moms stayed home and dads worked, and the families ate meals together, which promoted better family relationships. In today's fast-paced world. the family dinner has become a rare commodity, and kids are pushed to grow up more quickly. Pressures of social media add to the pain and anguish of growing up.(I am glad I grew up when I did.)
Reflecting on these thoughts, I have been reading lots of articles about the growing rates of depression and suicide, especially in girls 10 to 14. Most of the articles point to social media as an influence, but I am going to guess that the problem is lack of real relationships. Kids rarely talk to each other - they text. The same can be said for parents and kids. With no sit-down family dinners and no evenings on the front porch, like my generation remembers so well, parent child relationships are not as "in sync" as they used to be.
Teachers know that in order to truly be successful, they must have relationships with their students, and summer vacation interrupts that connection. I am hoping that with social media and cell phones, teachers can continue to be available to their kids, if needed. The suicide rates are truly alarming. I know that teachers work so hard during the school year, but allowing kids to reach out during the summer could save a life.
Here is a link about the increased suicide rate for young girls.
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Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school. if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.
Visit Dede's webpage for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at email@example.com The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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